MADISON, Wis. — Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick’s criticism of the Wisconsin Supreme Court for overruling him on evidence in the murder trial of Matthew J. Knapp, conveniently ignores that Koschnick ruled in the same case to exclude an essential piece of evidence which subsequently convicted Knapp – two pairs of the murderer’s shoes stained with the victim’s blood. The Supreme Court overruled Koschnick and allowed prosecutors to use the bloody shoes to convict Knapp.
Koschnick has made the Knapp decision a centerpiece of his campaign against Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and raised the case again in Thursday’s debate.
“This is jaw-dropping hypocrisy by Randy Koschnick,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “In the same case in which he criticizes the Supreme Court, Koschnick ruled to exclude the murderer’s shoes stained with the victim’s blood, evidence key to convicting the murderer.”
In 1987, a Watertown woman was found bludgeoned to death in her bedroom. Knapp was the last person seen with her that day, but was not charged. In 1999, he was charged after DNA evidence showed the victim’s blood on two pairs of Knapp’s shoes and a shirt. Koschnick ruled the shoes were inadmissible, but the shirt was. The Wisconsin Supreme Court disagreed with Koschnick on both counts, ruling that the bloody shoes Koschnick had excluded could be used by prosecutors.
The prosecutor in the case emphasized the importance of the bloody shoes in the conviction, telling reporters after the guilty verdict, “The scientists showed the dead woman’s blood was on his shoes.”
“This illustrates how easy – and how wrong – it is to take a single ruling or a single case out of context and try to use it to characterize a judge’s record,” Ross said. “It’s what Michael Gableman did to Louis Butler, and what Randy Koschnick is trying to do to Shirley Abrahamson. Abrahamson could just as easily use the same case against Koschnick.”
The Supreme Court decision overturning Koschnick’s effort to exclude the bloody shoes as admissible is available at: http://www.wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=16422.